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Full text of "The Loom Of Language"

88                   The Loom of Language
possible until students of language began to study how the sound of a
word changes in the course of a few generations
To organize prosperity on a world-wide scale, we need to supplement
the languages of local speech-communities with an international
medium of discourse Whether such a world-wide language will
eventually displace all others, we cannot say. What is certain is that
such a change will not happen till many centuries have elapsed In the
meantime, the most we can aim at is to make every citizen of the Age of
Plenty bilingual, that is to say, equally fluent in a home language, and
in the common language of world citizenship, or of some unit larger
than the sovereign states of the present day. Hardly less important is
another need. Few but experts realize the Babel of scripts in the modern
world Many of them are ill-suited for their purpose, laborious to
learn and space-consuming. Non-explomve collaboration between
East and West requires international adoption of the Roman alphabet,
supplemented where necessary by additional symbols. Lenin said this
to comrade Agamaly-Ogly, president of the Central pan-Soviet Com-
mittee of National Alphabets Romam^ation^ there lies the great revolu~
tion of the East.
Regulan/cation of script on a world-wide scale is alike prerequisite
to liquidation of illiteracy in the Orient and worth-while spelling
reform in the West Spelling reform is long overdue; but it is not a
purely national affair, nor merely the task of devising consistent rules
based on a priori principles. It must necessarily be a compromise
between conflicting claimsórecognition of language affinities in the
form of the written word, preservation of structural uniformities, such
as our plural -5, which transgress phonetic proprieties, the disadvantage
of an unwieldy battery of signs and the undesirability of setting up
an arbitrary norm without due regard to dialect differences *
FURTHER READING
GRIFFITH           The Stoty of Letters and Number*
LLOYD JAMBS    Our Spoken Language
JENSEN               Geschichte der Schnft
KARLGREN         Sound and Symbol in Chinese*
RIPMAN             English Phonetics
TAYLOR              The Alphabet,
THOMPSON        The ABC of our Alphabet
* The International Institute of Intellectual Co-operation has published a
report (i934)3 prefaced by Jespersen, on the promotion of the use of the
Roman alphabet among peoples with unsuitable scripts or no script at all